Even if you aren’t up for the challenge of going entirely off the grid, there are still ways that you can generate your own power. Best of all, government incentives or rebates offered by your local power company may help make the process of making energy upgrades to your home more affordable. Before you begin investing money in these changes, however, you should research which incentives or rebates are currently available.
You should also check with your local power company to find out what their policies are regarding net metering. For instance, some companies will pay you for any excess power that you generate.
The following section takes a closer look at a couple of different ways that you can begin generating your own power.
As solar technology continues to advance, it is quickly becoming more and more affordable. This is especially true when you add in the incentives or rebates that are available for installing a solar system. Homeowners can benefit from installing a series of photovoltaic panels since these panels allow them to harness the power of the sun. Although the initial expenses associated with installing solar panels can be quite high, you may be able to help offset these costs through the use of tax rebates or incentives. Additionally, the system itself can save you a lot of money on power over time, helping to pay for itself.
Traditionally, solar panels were installed on the roof or in a separate array located near the building. These days, however, more and more homeowners are opting for building-integrated photovoltaic (BPIV) systems. These systems are directly integrated into the design of the building itself.
The EnerGen System. One of the downsides to solar panels is that they sit well above the surface of the roof, detracting from the appearance of a home. A company called CertainTeed helped solve this problem by integrating thin-film laminates with asphalt shingles to create a flat, attractive alternative to traditional solar panels. The hope is that more people will begin integrating solar energy into their homes thanks to the attractive design of the EnerGen system.
Currently, these systems are only available in limited areas of the country. As of right now, residents of Hawaii, California, and Arizona can purchase EnerGen systems. They are highly effective at generating energy and can even create power in low-light situations. The systems are also relatively easy to install, making them a great choice for any home. So, even with new oil on the horizon according to Fircroft, it’s better to have a sustainable option like this.
From an alternative energy standpoint, wind is one of the most promising options. Homes that rely on wind power usually remain connected to the energy grid. This allows them to tap into the local energy supply during periods of time when there isn’t a lot of wind. They can also sell energy back to the power company during periods of sustained wind. When installed at a typical home, these systems can provide tremendous benefits for the environment. A single system can offset as much as 200 tons of greenhouse gases as well as 1.2 tons of pollutants in the air.
According to Simply Switch, recent developments in wind turbines have made them much more practical to install in residential settings. Typically, they can either be installed on the roof of the home or on the ground nearby.
WindTronic’s Honeywell Turbine. Created by WindTronics, the Honeywell turbine is designed with efficiency in mind. It eliminates the traditional gearbox found in most turbines, opting instead to house the mechanism responsible for generating electricity in the tips of the blades and the frame of the turbine itself. These turbines are capable of creating electricity even if the wind speed drops to as little as 2 mph. The diameter of the blades comes in at 6 feet, while the unit itself weighs in at 170 pounds.
WindTronics hopes to make wind power more accessible by creating products that are easy to integrate into everyday life. Capable of generating a whopping 2,752 kilowatt-hours of power each year in locations with a class IV wind speed, this system is more affordable than you might think, coming in at approximately $6,500 for the turbine, the inverter, and the controller.
The Windspire Vertical Turbine. Created by Windspire, this unique turbine is designed to be used in urban settings. Because it is positioned vertically, the direction of the wind doesn’t affect its performance. Installing multiple turbines can allow homeowners to generate all of the power that they need. Alternatively, a single wind turbine can be used to generate a portion of the required power. In areas that have wind speeds that average around 11 mph, one of these turbines can generate up to 2,000 kWh of energy each year.